Compass: Charting the Evolution of Outdoor Gear

Compass: Evolution of Outdoor Gear Updates

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Added heaps new Synergy Works / Synergy Systems images including their final brochure, circa 1981



Added new links to related outdoor gear heritage sites: Vertical Archaeology, Outdoor Gear Coach, and Alpine Luddites

added 'in-use' shots of restore Early Winters Omnipotent 1151. Floor & flysheet recoated, seams sealed, guylines upgraded

added lost of new Marmot pix of Twilight, Taku, Solstice,  and Burrow bivy, plus apparel and packs

added scans of Early Winters Moonwing tent from 1984 (courtesy of Joyce Peters). Plus other Early Winters Pix.


Back in action after a long hiatus. Hope to be far more regular with updates to site. Fingers crossed my actions meet my intentions.

Please note that it seems there was an issues that the old outdated email was still being reference on the new site.

If you sent an email in past year or two, to the address, I did not get it. Please try emailing again.

to kick off I have added pages for Nike ACG (All Conditions Gear)



added pages for Trangia stoves

had a few bugs migrated the website site over from the old URL of . Think they are now squashed.

Please advise me of any lingering gremlins.



added PDF of Lowe Alpine Systems 1972 catalog also trading as Snug Mountaineering at that time. (courtesy of Stevy Maradona)

added images of both the 1990 and 1994 Phoenix Mountaineering tent catalogues (courtesy of Riccardo  Di Nunzio)

added images of Karrimor cycle panniers, Moulton AM bike bags and SA 7000 thermoformed pack harness

added images of Chouinard Shell Gloves, the first pre-curved outdoor gloves, with one-handed cord closures

added images of Silva Camper compass. Made by YCM Japan. Purchased around 1974.

added images of Marmot Pocket Gopher. Bought 1985, from a friend who got it at a Nepalese bazaar, after it had been on an expedition !


secured web hosting for new domain of and migrated website to the new address

NOTE: In late 2013 my Internet Service Provider advised they would no longer be supporting web addresses, including mine.

This was a bitter blow, as it meant I would have to migrate this site to yet another new URL. The fourth in its six year history.

Each time this happens the site loses its recognition with search engines like Google and Bing and old links no longer work.

This took the wind out of my sails, as the Compass project is self-funded hobby. While I continued to collect material, the site wasn't updated

It has taken a while to reinvigorate the project. But it is now back on track.



Included a link to Outdoor Industry Underground or, Alan Tabor's ode to the history of Mountain Hardwear and Sierra Designs

started a page for Raichle footwear


started a gallery of labels and logo for outdoor brands


added a bunch of old Paddymade leaflets and documents fron the 60's and 70's

added photos of rare Nau Profile and Blender Gloves, made of recycled polyester, Pittards goat leather, and, in the Blender, merino wool

started pages for Aiking, Andrew King's pack company (that later merged with J&H/One Planet and Adventure Designs)

added photos of Early Winters Omnipotent No, 1151 produced between 1977-1979

added eight more vintage outdoor books

added photos of Blacks Good Companion standard tent, produced circa 1975-1976

added photos of Chouinard Comet single skin tent, produced circa 1987-88

forgot to mention that I'd already started a page for Mountain Mule 'H' frame packs out of New Zealand, an iconic 70's Antipodean product


added Bill Edwards's recollections of his 12 years working as the designer at Early Winters, including designing the first Gore-tex products

added photos of Phoenix Phreespirit and Phunnel tents (courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added a bunch of Sierra Designs catalog  and advertising images circa 1978 - 1980

added a smattering of adverts and photos of The North Face products

added images of Kelty, Marmot, Moonstone, MSR, REI, Robert Saunders, Sierra West, Silva, Snowlion, Synergy Works, & Ultimate

included some Karrimor Don Whillan and Joe Brown pack photos (courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added a few more Frostline Kits adverts from the early 70's

added some more vintage adverts to the Eureka! page

added a couple images of EB Super Grattons

added Chouinard packs advert, circa 1976

added images of Blacks Itisa (?) tent and Ventile smock

added images to the Black Ice page

added 30 plus images to the Various Brands page

started page of Outdoor Gear Firsts, based on my best information available. Evidence based corrections welcomed.

life gets in the way of hobbies! Hence the pauncy of additions over the past few months. No shortage of material tho'



added images from Rohan TQQ magazine when they started selling Moulton bikes in 1986. Alex Moulton the designer died this month aged 92

started Black Ice pages, a look one of Bill Simon's many forays into the outdoor gear market


added the Lowe Alpine 1981 Catalog (courtesy Jim Graham)


added some Paddymade (Paddy Pallin) adverts from 1935 to 1972 (courtesy Jim Graham)

added some Bushgear adverts from 1968 and 1972 (courtesy Jim Graham)

added Flinders Rangers catalogue 1975 (courtesy Jim Graham)

added Hank Roberts Mini stove lantern to Various


added 14 pages for the 1980 Moss Tent Works catalog. (Catalog provided by Jim Graham)

added photos of Bill Edwards' Early Winters tents. Bill designed the first ever Gore-Tex tent. See also his original 360º panorama shot.

added 20 plus selected pages from the 1963 Blacks Centenary issue catalogue, celebrating 100 years (courtesy Jim Graham)


added 24 pages from the 1974 Bushgear pricelist, includes full descriptions of their three tents, and other product detail from the early 70's

added more vintage images and updated the history page for Fjallraven

added a bunch of 70's adverts and random images for some half dozen or so brands. You'll just have to find them.

started pages for Robert Saunders tents. Hope to add more soon.

started pages for Mountain Designs. Much more to come later, but starting with this early introduction.


added images and recollections of the early Derkogner side of the Dachstein mitt legend, courtesy of Jim Graham

started pages for North Cape, of Scotland, who made some enduring non-pilling laminated pile garments, and later Dunova apparel

added back in the Rohan Detail photos, showing close ups of fabric and construction detailing 1983-1987

added another Tim Cotgrave photo of his Phoenix Phreerunner, this time in the Czech-Republic

added photos of Karrimor's iconic purple Haston Alpiniste rucsac, purchased in 1979 and still used 30 years on.

old website URL (  ) is now defunct


added images of Helly Hansen 'W' Pile garment, acquired in 1983 and worn every year since. Also updated HH History page

started new page for Books: starting with my personal collection of vintage outdoors publications, many of which are now out of print

added link for, the classic camp stoves website

added link for Pitons, the Analogy on the Historical Origins of Rock Pitons

added link for Vertical Devices: Gary Storrick's visual collection of over 1,550 abseiling (rappelling), ascending and belay devices

added link for Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection (SMHC)

added photos of Flinders Rangers canvas "A" Frame pack

Please note new contact email

started Image and History pages for EB Super Grattons, the preeminent rockclimbing shoe of the 50's, 60's, 70's, and early 80's.

added photos of Paddymade japara water bucket

added photos of Sigg billy (with lockable handle), circa 1979, to Various brand images

started pages for Mountain Mule packs, one of the three 60's-70's iconic H Frame packs of New Zealand tramping and Australian bushwalking

started on the history page for Bushgear

included a link to Outside Magazine's pictorial article, The Most Influential Gear of All Time, even with it's healthy dollop of inaccuracies

added the complete Berghaus catalogue (circa 1974-75). Had previously only had selections


added another 17 pages to 1977 REI Co-op catalog. including more tents, packs, sleeping bag, lights, down apparel, climbing gear, etc

started pages for Bushgear, an early outdoor retailer, and manufacturer of double skin nylon tents, scans includes 1976 & 1978 pricelists

added more Berghaus catalogue scans from 1977 & 1979, including children's wear, the woeful Mistral Gore-tex Jacket & 12 models of Cyclops

also added some now discontinued MSR tents, that reflect the heritage of Moss tents, who had previously merged with MSR

added images of MSR's early XGK and Firefly stoves, plus the G and K model manual, courtesy of Tim Cotgrave

added photos of the seminal British Gore-Tex single pole tent, the Phoenix Phreerunner, courtesy of Tim Cotgrave

added photos of Garuda Atman and Kaja tents (courtesy Ian Nguyen)

added photos of an unidentified Sierra West tent. Can anyone ID it? (courtesy Mike Morrow)

added photos of Synergy Works vapour barrier shirt, as found on ebay by Alan Wenker)

added photos of Wilderness Experience Backpacker pack ((courtesy and Bob Johnson)

added photos of Ultimate's The Tent (in snow), Peapod, and Helmet (courtesy of Time CotGrave and Bob Johnson)

started pages for A5 Adventures big wall climbing gear. PDF catalogs, kindly provided by A5 founder, John Middendorf

started pages for Millarmitts by Millar Glove Ltd (added more photos, including label, courtesy of Alan Wenker)


started pages for Dachstein mitts (aka Lackner Wolle) ... and have since added more images

started pages for tents by Noall Mountaineering

added photos of Mountain Equipment Fitzroy insulated jacket, courtesy of Tim Cotgrave

added photos of Karrimor K2 pack frame, courtesy of Tim Cotgrave.

added photos of Ultimate Tramp tent, courtesy Tim Cotgrave.

added photos of Phoenix Mountaineering Phunnel tent. courtesy of Tim Cotgrave

added photos of Forrest Mountaineering plastic Foxhead, & in Various: Peck Cracker, Trailwise Fitzroy Tent & pack, courtesy Bob J.


new website URL went live:

Please bookmark this new address as the old 'homepage' version won't work after 30 June 2012


after much to-do, started transitioning site to new address

(the original website: will cease to exist, when Apple dumps MobileMe subscriptions)



added Link to Kai Larson's collection of scanned outdoor catalogues including rare 2001 Cloudwalker by Jeff Lowe catalog

added Link to Vintage Cannondale, PDFs of original Cannondale catalogs starting back in 1973, when this was also a backpacking brand

the Compass site referenced by Scandinavian gear homage blog, Our Culture

Rohan co-founder, Sarah Howcroft, launches Recycle Outdoor Gear, free online service promoting sale of preloved,secondhand kit

Bruce Johnson's venerable History of Gear Project gets its own Facebook pages

software issues prevent fresh images from uploading, so limited updates in past few months,

found a workaround and images are now loading. (But need to reload Rohan detail photos and re-caption 5.10 images.) More to come.


Patagonia have established relationship with eBay to promote sale of preloved, secondhand Patagonia product

added pages for Five Ten (5.10) Stealth Rubber footwear


added page of detailed photographs of Rohan clothing from 1983 to 1988


added photos of Lowe Alpine Systems Cerro Pack and swing tag (courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added photos of early Karrimor label and cycle panniers (courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added photos of Berghaus Cyclops Serac pack (courtesy Tim Cotgrave)

passed milestone of 200 pages, with well over 70 brands represented. (albeit many 'Profile' pages are still shy of content)

added more images of Sierra West packs and tents (Courtesy Alan Wenker)

added most every page from the 1977 Frostline Kits catalog, (Courtesy Alan Wenker)

added the 1980 Rohan catalogue, with kind permission of Sarah Howcroft, who originally posted it to Rohantime

updated Rohan History

started De France Pack page. Consists mostly of line illustrations from their circa 1988/89 Trixter brochure

started Sierra West pages. Early Gore-tex manufacturer and lightweight backpacking pioneer


added 30 or so new images, across many brands including Early Winters, Jansport, Kelty, Marmot, North Face, REI, Sierra Designs & Various

added Yakworks Profile page

added photos of Synergy Works Gore-tex parka (Courtesy Alan Wenker)

added photos of MSR three layer Gore-tex jacket. (seen on ebay) Said to have been the first to commercialise underarm vent zips

added photos of Marmot Taku polyester Gore-Tex tent (courtesy Alan Wenker)

added Yakworks pack photos and some catalog scans (courtesy Alan Wenker)

added photos of Ultimate U8/2 Bivouac tent, courtesy Tim Cotgrave. Where does he find 'em?

started pages for Outgear packs of Australia

started pages for Tika packs of New Zealand

added link to Gear Timezone, a history of the outdoor industry compiled by Mike Parsons (ex Karrimor) and Mary Rose

added various old 70's magazine adverts including  Paddymade, Fairydown, Silva, Flinders Ranges, etc, (Courtesy of John van der Veur)

added Bergans frame pack photos, maybe a Telemark? (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added photos of Berghaus Roc in canvas (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)


started Ajungilak Image page and Ajungilak History page

added more product photos to Forrest Mountaineering and updated the Forrest History

added images of Phoenix tents, circa 2001, (not long after the brand was taken over by AMG, who also own Vango and Blacks of Greenock)

added Phoenix Phalanx tent photos (courtesy Tim Cotgrave). Tim reckons the Phalanx has same specs as Ultimate Valley 4


added images of Icelandic sleeping bag and 1934 catalog cover to Blacks of Greenock page (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

updated Phoenix History and added a Phoenix Profile

added Omega Outdoor images to Phoenix page. Omega formed after Karrimor bought Phoenix brand. Phreeranger tent reborn as Outland

added photos of Berghaus Roc pack (courtesy Tim Cotgrave)

added photos of Phoenix Phreak and Phalanx tents (courtesy Tim Cotgrave)

added photos of Karrimor Tote'em Classique pack (courtesy Tim Cotgrave)

added more Fairydown images, including 70's adverts (Courtesy of John van der Veur) and 2005 product info from old website

added Ultimate 'The Tent' photos (courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added Ultimate Hobo tent photos (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added Silva compass catalogues circa 1976 (Courtesy of John van der Veur)

added Berghaus Centurion frame pack photos (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

started Fairydown pages, including circa 1970 catalogue (Courtesy of John van der Veur)

added Mountain Equipment images from 1976 catalogue (Courtesy of John van der Veur)


started Blue Train pages (UK travel & outdoor apparel, circa 1989)

added Paddymade catalogue, circa 1970 (Found at Bushwalk Australia forum. Scanned by Tas-man)

added more Jansport photos (courtesy Alan Wenker)

added photos of Blacks Mountain tent in Ventile (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added The North Face Moraine & Crevasse, packs plus OI22 & Westwind tents 1981 (Courtesy of John van der Veur)

added Mountain Equipment catalogue cover and pricelist 1976 (Courtesy of John van der Veur)

started Sprayway pages

updated Mountain Equipment history

added Jansport history

added photos of Jansport packs, tents and clothing (many pack shots courtesy of Alan Wenker).

added photos of of Karrimor Annapurna III frame pack (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)


added more Terrapax images

Scott Hampton advises he's photographed another box of catalog covers from his vast collection. See Links to jump to his Picasa page

added more Sequel images

added Sequel profile

added images of Clint Eastwood (in Marmot Mountain Works down garments) from The Eiger Sanction movie

added heaps more Patagonia catalog images (Glissades, Puffballs, DAS, Tagua buttons, Nemo, Torre, 1992 pricelist, etc)

added link to Scott Hampton's photographs of some of the covers of his massive collection of 800 outdoor catalogs.

added photos of of Blacks Of Greenock Arctic Guinea mountain tent (courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added photos of Bergans model 577 pack in orange nylon fabric (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

added photos of Phoenix Phreak tent (Courtesy of Tim Cotgrave)

updated History for Sequel


added History, (and also more Images) to the END Footwear page

added Annapurna pack photos to Karrimor image page (courtesy Tim Cotgrave)


started page for Dana Designs packs, (includes complete 1995 Dana catalogue, via kind courtesy of ZM)

added link to The Piton's infographic, which shows which sporting goods conglomerate owns which outdoor brand (circa 2008)



started Polaris apparel page

started Vortex backpacks page

added more Marmot images

added more Arc'teryx images

started page for Ecotrek, who made some of the first packs constructed of post-consumer recycled materials

added images to Lowe Alpine included adverts for Gore-Tex dome and tunnel tents

added photos of Scott Hampton's The North Face Oval Intention tent

added some lovely old catalog covers courtesy of Scott Hampton. The North Face 1973, Sierra Designs 1972, and Stephenson Warmlite

Updated details of the Rohantime 'Top 50 outdoor innovations in last 50 years' event to include readers final nominations

added images of 1995 sleeping bag catalog to Moonstone, courtesy of ZM

added image of Early Winters Moonwing tent, courtesy of Kerry Bannister

added Pharaoh and Starflight tent images to Sierra Designs, courtesy of Kerry Bannister

added images to Bergans, Blacks of Greenock (including 1950's and 60's publications), Silva, and Karrimor, courtesy of Tim Cotgrave

reformatted the brand image slideshows, which seems, for the moment, to allow more images to be loaded. Not as elegant, but it works.

[ Clicking any image (for most brands) now opens a manual slideshow in a floating window. Click X in the bottom right to exit slideshow. ]


experiencing some hiccups with software not loading additional images to the site. Trialling some workarounds.

received some great images for vintage Bergans, Blacks, Dana, Karrimor, Sierra Designs, etc from Tim Cotgrave, ZM, and Kerry Bannister


started Macpac page

started Forrest Mountaineering page (mostly just images, and briefest of history, at this point)

added more images to Various page

started Wilderness Experience page

added more images to brands including Eureka, Sierra Designs, Moonstone, Silva, The North Face, and Marmot, amongst others

started Synergy Works page

added preliminary Moss Tent Works History

added more Early Winters images

corrected typo in History that showed Silva started in 1963, when, of course, it was 1933.

added note on home page about the 'Top 50 outdoor innovations in last 50 years' online event at Rohantime


added complete 1975 Rohan catalogue, (by kind courtesy of Sarah and Paul Howcroft)

added complete 1979 Rohan catalogue, (by kind courtesy of Sarah and Paul Howcroft)

added more history, and more images, to The North Face pages

added more images to Norrona

added more images to Marmot

started Mountain Equipment (UK) page

started Fjällraven page

started Walrus page

added Boondocker's Vintage Gear Museum to Links page

added more images to Various brands page


added more images to Deja Shoe

Started pages for Deja Shoe

added more images to Osprey Packs

Started pages for Osprey Packs


added images to several pages, including Berghaus, Karrimor, Kelty, Phoenix and Ultimate

added images to Paddy Pallin page

added more Sierra Designs images

added J&H images and updated J&H history page

added current websites for all brands, where available, at the base of their respective History pages


added Paddy Pallin images and updated Paddy Pallin history page

Started pages for Sequel

Started pages for Garuda Mountaineering

Started pages for Buffalo Systems

Started pages for Flinders Rangers

Started pages for J&H (later known as One Planet)

Added photos to the Ultimate and Phoenix pages, as kindly provided by Jeffery Winter

Compass site mentioned in UK Outdoor Magic forum thread on Ultimate tents


Compass site mentioned in Hiking Down Memory Lane post on Patagonia's blog The Cleanest Line.


Added scans of complete Rohan 1987 catalogue, as kindly provided by David Jones


Compass site discussed in History of Rohan Clothing post on Rohantime (UK)

2008 - 2009

developed site and began adding brand pages